Travel Sweet Spot Sunday: How to fly to the Caribbean, Mexico or Central America for the price of a domestic award
Royal Caribbean just announced more 'fully vaccinated' cruises this year, this time in the Mediterranean
Royal Caribbean has recently been announcing a string of summer cruises with COVID-19 vaccine mandates for crew and adult guests.Vaccinated against COVID-19 and craving a warm summer escape aboard a cruise ship? Royal Caribbean's newly announced seven-night Mediterranean cruises may be a good fit for you. From July 10 through October, the cruise line's 13-deck Jewel of the Seas ship will bring guests from Limassol, Cyprus to different destinations around Cyprus and Greece, including Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini.
Despite being shorter than some domestic flights, flights to the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America can be expensive. In addition to the extra taxes and fees, airlines charge higher award rates for these routes.
Luckily, there’s a workaround.
Today we’ll discuss how you can book cheap flights to the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America by maximizing American Airlines’ for the same price as domestic flights.. If you follow the steps below, you’ll be able to book awards to these regions
How to redeem Citi ThankYou Points for maximum value
Citi is a TPG advertising partner. The Citi ThankYou Rewards program remains one of the best for credit card users looking for flexible cash-back options or travel rewards. The program currently has several airline transfer partners and some of those partner programs offer the best use of ThankYou points. Citi currently offers five cards that allow …The Citi ThankYou Rewards program remains one of the best for credit card users looking for flexible cash-back options or travel rewards. The program currently has several airline transfer partners and some of those partner programs offer the best use of ThankYou points.
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Why it’s special
American Airlines offers a few different discount programs that can help reduce the price of your award flights. One of those is. During select travel periods, you can save up to 25% off the standard economy award prices between certain regions.
While you won’t find off-peak rates for flights within the contiguous U.S., or to Canada or Alaska, they are available for most other regions, including the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America. Saver awards to these regions typically cost 15,000 AAdvantage miles each way in economy, but are available for just 12,500 miles on off-peak dates. That’s a respectable 17% savings and is the same amount of miles typically required to fly within the U.S.
TPG’s picks for where to travel right now
Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers. Optimism. It’s a feeling that’s probably caked with cobwebs after a year of social distancing and lockdowns. But it’s time to dust it off! Right now, with more and more people in the U.S. and around the world being vaccinated, that …Optimism. It’s a feeling that’s probably caked with cobwebs after a year of social distancing and lockdowns. But it’s time to dust it off! Right now, with more and more people in the U.S.
The discount is applied automatically so you’ll be able to book these awards even if you don’t have enough miles to book them at the standard rates.
There are some terrific destinations you can book at these discounted rates, including San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO), Panama City (PTY), Aruba (AUA), Barbados (BGI), Bermuda (BDA), Mexico City (MEX) and Cancun (CUN).
How to book this award
Booking an off-peak award is no different than any other. However, you must familiarize yourself with the off-peak dates so that you know when to book for.
The current off-peak dates for the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America are April 21 to May 20 and Sept. 9 to Nov. 18. While not the case here, note that the off-peak dates can sometimes vary whether you’re leaving the U.S. for that region or returning. Also, keep in mind that the fall dates are during peak hurricane season for some of the destinations, so you’ll want to pay thewith a .
How to fly to Puerto Rico from just 9,000 miles each way
While Puerto Rico had endured several natural disasters in the form of hurricanes and earthquakes in recent years, the island has remained resilient with the help of continuing recovery efforts. Resurgent tourism from U.S. mainland visitors has provided a much-needed boost to the local economy during the pandemic. Since no passport is required to enter …Since no passport is required to enter Puerto Rico for U.S. citizens — the island has been a popular hot spot for eager travelers looking for an outdoorsy tropical getaway. Hotels are holding steady with stable room occupancy rates, and restaurants continue to welcome tourists with delicious cuisine and open arms.
Once you’ve picked your dates, simply search as you normally would on AA’s site. Enter your route, select your dates and check off the “Redeem miles” box.
If there’s saver availability, you’ll automatically see the lower rates — no promo code needed. Just remember that the discount is only available for economy class, not business or first.
If there’s no saver availability, I recommend you use the calendar search tool to check alternate dates. Alternatively, you can subscribe to(owned by TPG’s parent company, Red Ventures) and to be notified when award space opens up.
Unfortunately, MileSAAver off-peak awards do require you to fly American Airlines. So, you won’t be able to get these rates if you connect through a partner airline like.
After you’ve selected a flight, you’ll need to log in to your AAdvantage account to complete the booking. Some of the best credit cards for paying taxes and fees on award tickets include The Platinum Card® from American Express and Chase Sapphire Reserve. Not only do they earn bonus points on airfare, but they come with perks likeand , which — as discussed earlier — is especially important if you’re traveling during hurricane season.
Sweet Spot Sunday: American Airlines off-peak awards to Europe for 45,000 miles round-trip
Travel to Europe is about to rebound in a big way, with countries like Italy and Spain welcoming American tourists while the rest of Europe is set to reopen this summer. Travel demand is likely going to skyrocket when that happens, along with both paid and award airfare. Skipping the summer tourist season and opting …Skipping the summer tourist season and opting for a fall trip to Europe might be rewarding in more ways than one. Not only are hotels cheaper, but you might be able to take advantage of a very special sweet spot award: American Airlines’ 45,000-mile off-peak economy award.
Also, keep in mind that since these are considered saver awards, they don’t have the same limitations as. You have the flexibility to change these awards without running the risk that your new flight might cost more than your original booking.
How to earn miles for this award
If you’re not a frequent American Airlines flyer, you’re probably wondering how you can earn enough miles for this award. At first thought, this might seem challenging since American isn’t a transfer partner of, , or . However, there are
Transferring Marriott Bonvoy points
There’s one majorthat partners with American Airlines and that’s Marriott Bonvoy. You can to American Airlines AAdvantage at a 3:1 transfer ratio. While that’s not the best ratio, Marriott will give you a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 points you transfer. So, you’d need to transfer 60,000 Marriott points to book your round-trip off-peak award that costs 25,000 miles (you’d be getting 20,000 miles from the transfer plus a 5,000-mile bonus).
Maximizing Marriott Bonvoy’s unique airline transfer options: Part 1
While most people save up Marriott Bonvoy points for hotel stays, the program allows you to transfer points to 41 airline partners across all major alliances. The transfer ratio is 3:1 in most cases, with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 points transferred. Many of these frequent flyer programs are also transfer partners of competing …Many of these frequent flyer programs are also transfer partners of competing rewards programs, like Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou and Capital One miles. But in this two-part series, I want to look at the unique transfer partners offered only by the Marriott Rewards program and show you some of the ways you can maximize the benefits.
You can earn all the points you need for this redemption (and even have some points left over) by signing up for one of the following:
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card: Earn 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after using your new card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $200 in statement credits for eligible purchases made on your new card at U.S. restaurants within the first six months of card membership ($450 annual fee, see rates and fees). Offer ends May 12, 2021.
- Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card: Earn 100,000 points after using your new card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $150 back in statement credits on eligible purchases made on your new card within the first three months of card membership ($125 annual fee, see rates and fees). Offer ends May 12, 2021.
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card: Earn 100,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first three months from your account opening ($95 annual fee).
- Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card: Earn 50,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in your first three months from your account opening (no annual fee).
Earning with American Airlines cards
A potentially simpler way of racking up AAdvantage miles would be by picking up and spending on an. Most of the cards are offering sign-up bonuses large enough to cover a round-trip award and even have miles left over, including the following:
10 best ways to use 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points
Chase just announced an awesome new offer for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. New card applicants can earn 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. Chase advertises the 100,000-point bonus as being worth $1,250 when you book travel through the Chase Travel Portal. That’s …Chase advertises the 100,000-point bonus as being worth $1,250 when you book travel through the Chase Travel Portal. That’s already a terrific offer, considering the card’s annual fee is just $95. However, this value isn’t taking into account Chase’s vast list of airline and hotel transfer partners.
- : 65,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days. Additional 10,000 miles when an employee card is used for a purchase.
- CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®: 65,000 American Airlines bonus miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first four months of account opening.
- : 60,000 bonus miles after making a purchase and paying the $99 annual fee in full, both within the first 90 days of card opening.
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®: 50,000 miles after you spend $2,500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®: 50,000 miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
The information for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select, Citi AAdvantage Business Platinum Select, AAdvantage Aviator Red and the AAdvantage Aviator Business cards has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
In addition to giving your AAdvantage account a nice boost, these cards can help you get valuable, such as , priority boarding and . Cardholders can also get up to 7,500 miles off through .
Other methods for earning American miles
You don’t necessarily have to get a new credit card to earn the miles you need. While typically at suboptimal rates, you could also transfer , and to American Airlines miles. Alternatively, you could shop online through the AAdvantage eShopping mall or dine through AAdvantage Dining. You could also , but this could sometimes be more costly than buying the flight outright.
For more options, be sure to read our complete guide to.
American Airlines is one of the last U.S. carriers to still offer award charts with set rates. Off-peak pricing is a great opportunity to save on these rates. That said, it’s still important to compare these awards with Web Specials as they may sometimes be cheaper.
Featured photo by Alanna Johnson/EyeEm/Getty Images.
SPONSORED: With states reopening, enjoying a meal from a restaurant no longer just means curbside pickup.
And when you do spend on dining, you should use aand potentially even score special discounts. Thanks to temporary card bonuses and changes due to coronavirus, you may even be able to score a meal at your favorite restaurant for free.
for dining out, taking out, and ordering in to maximize every meal purchase.
Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
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